Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes


According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2020 compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 34 million Americans are currently living with diabetes. That’s more than one out of every 10 people in the United States.

On top of these staggering statistics, another 88 million Americans are facing pre-diabetes, which correlates to about one out of every three people in the nation. These individuals need to be on high alert because with the right lifestyle and dietary changes they just might be able to avoid joining the ranks of Americans living with diabetes.

The overwhelming majority of diabetic cases are type 2 diabetes. In fact, only about 5% of all cases found in the United States are classified as type 1 diabetes. It’s important to distinguish the differences between the two primary types of diabetes, because how they begin, how they act upon the body, and how they are treated can be very different. 


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of diseases that occur when the body is unable produce enough or any insulin, or, because the body does not effectively use the insulin it does produce. Without proper insulin production, the body is unable to process glucose, the essential form of sugar found in the blood and one of the body’s primary energy sources. In diabetics, glucose is not effectively transmitted to the cells, and therefore builds up causing an elevation in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). This can lead to a host of health complications.

To ensure they maintain proper blood sugar levels, most people living with diabetes are on an insulin treatment regimen. Many inject insulin daily using a syringe and needle. Others prefer a pen needle method, while some patients are using a new device called a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CRM). There is no right or wrong insulin treatment method; it really comes down to personal preference, physician recommendations, and treatment requirements. The good news is all these options are available from reputable online diabetic suppliers, making it easier than ever to manage any diabetes health plan.


What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is widely believed to be an autoimmune condition. With type 1 diabetes the immune system mistakes the beta cells in the pancreas, responsible for producing insulin, for foreign cells. The body begins to attack and destroy these beta cells, thereby halting insulin production and depriving the body’s cells of the blood sugar necessary to function correctly. What exactly causes type 1 diabetes still remains somewhat of a mystery, though many believe that both genetic and environmental factors may be contributors. However, lifestyle and diet are not thought to play a role in acquiring type 1 diabetes. All individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes require synthetic insulin injections to maintain proper blood sugar levels with most using either syringes or pen needles.


What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. While its causes are not entirely understood, it is clear that factors such as weight, diet, and activity level all contribute to the severity of type 2 diabetes and aid in its treatment.

Unlike those with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes actually produce insulin. The problem, however, is that the cells in the body fail to respond to the insulin properly and, therefore, are unable to accept the glucose. However, because beta cells are not destroyed with type 2 diabetes as they are in type 1, blood sugar levels may rise at a far slower rate, which often means someone can have the disease without experiencing symptoms right away.

The upside with type 2 diabetes is that not everyone who has it requires synthetic insulin as part of a diabetes treatment plan. Some can rely on easier to administer alternative medications, while others are even able to control the disease with lifestyle and dietary changes. Those who do require insulin need it at varying levels and can find all the necessary products online, including glucose meters and diabetic test strips from leaders like Accu-Chek, Freestyle Lite and TRUE Metrix, insulin syringes options from leaders like Clever Choice and Easy Comfort, and well as pen needles from Easy Comfort, BD and Clever Choice.


The Symptoms of Diabetes and The Consequences of Untreated Diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes often share similar symptoms and lead to similar conditions. However, there are some distinguishing factors to note between the two.

For starters, type 1 diabetes tends to develop very rapidly. It may just take a few weeks for a person to begin noticing the symptoms. Additionally, type 1 diabetes most often begins to manifest in the childhood or early adolescent years. Remember, type one diabetes results from the body’s inability to produce insulin and therefore is much quicker to develop.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can develop far more slowly. In fact, people with the disease might not feel any symptoms for a few years. What can be particularly dangerous is that some people with type 2 diabetes never see any symptoms at all, and only discover they have the disease when more serious complications and health concerns finally show themselves. Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in individuals over the age of 45, however, more and more younger people are being diagnosed due to inactive lifestyles and the rise in adolescent obesity.


Symptoms that commonly occur with diabetes are:

– frequent urination

– unquenchable thirst or feeling thirsty more often than usual/dry mouth

– itchy skin

– unusual hunger/spike in appetite

– fatigue and weakness

– blurry vision or dizziness

– cuts and bruises that are slow to heal

– unexplained weight loss

– yeast infections

– fruity or sweet-smelling breath

– excessive perspiration


Long-term consequences of untreated diabetes and increased blood sugar include:

– neuropathy (nerve damage)

– retinopathy (eye damage)

– kidney damage

– cardiovascular complications that may lead to heart attack

– insufficient blood delivery to the extremities, which, in severe cases, can lead to amputations


If you are experiencing any of the diabetic symptoms listed above, it is crucial that you see your doctor and explain the situation as soon as possible. It very well might not be diabetes related, however, if it is, the sooner you are diagnosed the better. If you do have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s important to identify it, assess your individual needs, and develop an appropriate diabetes care plan to prevent far more serious health issues. Step one is seeing your doctor.


Diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2 Quick Reference Guide

Type 1 Diabetes

• Usually first diagnosed in children and young adults

• Genetic/autoimmune disorder

• Body does not produce any insulin

• Diabetes Care Plan always includes insulin treatments.

Type 2 Diabetes

• Usually diagnosed at 45 years or older

• Weight, diet, inactivity are major contributors to disease and its severity

• Diabetes Care Plan includes a combination of insulin treatment (or other medications) with dietary and exercise regimens

• In some cases, it is possible to reverse the disease and the reliance on insulin with careful meal planning, healthy diet and regular exercise.


Diabetes Treatment

According to the CDC, diabetes is a disease that knows no prejudice. It impacts people from all walks of life – social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Though manageable, it is also a serious condition that is listed as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In other words, diabetes diagnosis and treatment are nothing to take lightly.

However, the promising news for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics is that modern medicine continues to make great strides in diabetes care. Additionally, advancements in e-commerce have made learning about and exploring the many treatment options available a lot easier.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll find everything you need for your personal diabetes care plan at  If you’ve recently learned that you’re diabetic, ask your doctor about ‘Diabetic Starter Kits that include all the tools and products you need to stay on top of your blood sugar levels for a confident start at a healthy and happy future.


Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including test strips, syringes and needles, glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit